When Kids Text

Josie Leavitt - October 2, 2016

I have a good friend I text with fairly often. When she starts driving, she’ll pass the phone to her 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, who will continue to text. These texts charm me because Sophie is a sophisticated little texter. But the real charm is what we talk about: books. Sophie is usually handed the phone when they’re driving to the bookstore. The other day, my phone dinged to alert me to incoming text. The text began quite simply: “Hi, it’s Sophie on Mommy’s phone.”
That was the first of many texts from young Sophie that Saturday morning. She informed me they were driving to the bookstore and she wanted to know if I had the Warriors book, “not the one in the series but the stand alone, Tigerclaw’s Fury.” She knew it was in hardcover, she knew when it came out, and she knew she had to have it right now!
I looked it up and we did not have it. I asked if I could order it for her and she texted back a very sad little “no”. Then moments later she texted back, “Could you recommend another series for me?” Bear in mind, I was at work. I try to limit my texting when I’m at work but when a disappointed 10-year-old reader is asking for new recommendations, what am I supposed to do? I suggested The School for Good and Evil which I thought would be a good break for Sophie who has been stuck in the Warriors series for the entire year I’ve known her. I’m all for kids reading a series, but I do think they need to mix things up and try different books and not just a steady diet of one series for months on end.
I texted her the basic plot, told her how many books were in the series and then said I’d leave on the special order shelf so it would be there when she came in. Sophie bounded in moments later, asked for a hug and then her book. (By the way, kids who ask for hugs and then books, are possibly the best part of a Saturday.) I handed her the book and she was intrigued. She started reading while her twin brother browsed graphic novels. I chatted with their mom about their day and then they left, Sophie with her head already in the book.
Sunday afternoon I was working and my phone dinged loudly enough for the entire store to hear.  “Hi, it’s Sophie. Can you set aside book two of The School for Good and Evil for me?”

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